Britain should be “more confident about our status as a Christian country”, David Cameron said.
The Prime Minister insisted that being a Christian country did not mean “doing down” other religions or “passing judgment” on those with no faith at all.
The Government has come under attack from senior clergy over its welfare reforms, but Mr Cameron said “we all believe in many of the same principles” and churches were “vital partners”.
In an article for the Church Times, Mr Cameron described himself as a “classic” member of the Church of England, “not that regular in attendance, and a bit vague on some of the more difficult parts of the faith”.
He rejected the idea that in an “ever more secular age” people should not talk about their religion.
“I believe we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country, more ambitious about expanding the role of faith-based organisations, and, frankly, more evangelical about a faith that compels us to get out there and make a difference to people’s lives,” he said.
“First, being more confident about our status as a Christian country does not somehow involve doing down other faiths or passing judgment on those with no faith at all.
“Many people tell me it is easier to be Jewish or Muslim in Britain than in a secular country precisely because the tolerance that Christianity demands of our society provides greater space for other religious faiths, too.
“Crucially, the Christian values of responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, and love are shared by people of every faith and none – and we should be confident in standing up to defend them.”
Earlier this year the Government came under attack from 27 Anglican bishops who warned that thousands of people were being forced to rely on hand-outs from food banks as a result of the coalition’s benefit changes.
Mr Cameron acknowledged that welfare was “controversial” but added: “It is through the dignity of work, the reforms to welfare that make work pay, and our efforts to deliver the best schools and skills for young people, that our long-term economic plan can best help people to a more secure future. ”